From “the Latin Word Putāre, Meaning ‘to Think’”

(Title taken from Merriam-Webster Dictionary’s definition for “compute”)

I shall begin this post in a very cliché fashion. Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines computing as “[determining] especially by mathematical means… [calculating] by means of a computer… [making] a calculation… [using] a computer.”

I grew up using computers. In fact, all throughout elementary school I had to take a class called Computation. However, what’s exciting about computing is not just “to use a computer,” as Merriam-Webster offers, but to be able to understand/manipulate/take advantage of the logic and technologies that allow computation. The satisfaction of building a prototype that works or writing code that runs is the same, at least to me, as the pleasure of solving a mathematical problem. It’s fascinating to create/discover/invent by assembling concepts/tools/pieces that already exist and making them act at your will – some work by the forces of nature (you go, Physics!) and some were made to work by others before you.

It’s a part-by-part logical process, but not necessarily step-by-step, for infinite routes can be taken to achieve the same goal (and the same step can be revisited multiple times, in different order, to fix or improve the computation).

It’s an international, timeless, collaborative endeavour.

I remember a quote from Steve Jobs that was cited on TV once (can’t remember who, when, where, why… but I can remember what), and it stuck with me. Now, I realize that it suits computing really well.

Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things.

-Steve Jobs